It is all about who pays, as many competing ideas strive to gainfully employ means to harness it, as it travels through the basic weather cycle.
Yes some maoris have a stake in water as a food source and a historic means of travel but to merely clip another ticket as it passes through is just plain unadulterated rubbish.
With the current debate on water and amongst that some real humour with a bit of a surplus in places such as Westport, another facet of the issues comes to mind.
Large tracts of Canterbury were radically reshaped by graders and scrapers to create dykes that water, released at the higher end flooded down between the borders until all but the border ridges was irrigated using gravity (is that the next claim).
It was a system that was cheap to run after relatively high capital costs, but very inefficient as far as wateruse and leeching were concerned and heightened after conversion to dairy with pugging of the wetter areas nearest the race.
With the advances in Rotorainers, K Lines, Pivots and Trickle systems much of the bordered land is being converted to the more efficient if somewhat expensive delivery systems that place very accurate volumes of water to target soils to an extent that computor controlled pivots can vary the amount to different mapped soils as they passs over.
I presume in an attempt to carrot the change from borders, regional councils are formulating policies that address the disposal of rainfall from the border areas that in significant rainfall events can accumulate surface water causing flooding. Costs associated with this facet are remitted if conversion from border dykes is introduced.
It appears to me that it is not who "owns the water" but who will pay for the accumulation, both as a benefit and a problem, with water being the "meat in the sandwich" literally.
As Garrick Tremain encapsulated so nicely when the flood suffering property owner phones 'Wiremu' up to remove "his bloody water".